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"The shows depict lives in turmoil with deceptive simplicity — an elusive quality that the Transport Group captures in the graceful revivals...Inge's work burst with generous humanity and possessed a sure grasp on the power of intimacy — something these productions skillfully bring to the fore...The productions work well together because Mr. Cummings and his cast are in sync with Inge’s sensibility, aware as he was that understatement is powerful." Full Review
“Transport Group's superb mounting of both of these plays in repertory is staged by director Jack Cummings III in an intimate environment that allows natural performances and gentle nuances…While Millie's determination to make an independent life for herself is the guts of 'Picnic,' the tragedy lies in Skinner's fascinating Rosemary, who gives off a sexy, carefree vibe until it's finally revealed to her that Howard is not going to marry her...Beautifully subtle glimpses of human longings.” Full Review
"Two excellent productions featuring a terrific cast that blows the dust off these somewhat dated classics...Jack Cummings III directs these plays with loving detail...Inge's depiction of women is decidedly of its time...But then there's Elless...Elless' performances are, by themselves, worth the price of admission...Cummings can't prevent the plots from veering toward the melodramatic at times, but their power for us today is that they open windows into a past that we often forget existed." Full Review
"It’s astonishing how little in the way of artifice is required to create powerful theater. An artful script helps, and William Inge’s 'Picnic' is an oft-revived neo-classic for good reason...In mounting this barebones revival, director Jack Cummings III has managed to sand the edges off any potential villains. Even so, each ordinary Kansan depicted appears to be grappling with forces on the scale of Greek tragedy." Full Review
"If these productions don't convince you that Inge is one of our finest playwrights, nothing will...Nobody understood the corrosive effects of loneliness better than Inge, and Emily's account of her spinster schoolteacher life is presented with savage exactitude...'Picnic' has a director who understands Inge's play from the inside out and a gifted cast that is alive to the script's tiniest nuances. I've seen three or four productions of 'Picnic,' and this is the finest by far." Full Review
"Sadly, everything in this production feels misguided...Seeing 'Picnic' and 'Sheba' back to back does neither show any favors. Their bland similarity is emphasized and lessens whatever impact each might have on their own...One after the other, 'Picnic' and 'Sheba' don’t evince recurring themes but simply feel like the same story done with a mild twist to make it seem new...The casting only emphasizes this...Happily, actors can make hay even with soapy material." Full Review
"These revivals, staged by Jack Cummings III and acted by a first-class ensemble cast, will leave you in no doubt that Inge was one of America’s half-dozen greatest playwrights...Simplicity and intimacy are the keys to these stagings...This kind of bare-bones staging works only if the actors are strong enough not to need to hide behind the production. Mr. Cummings’s cast delivers the goods...In the end, though, Mr. Cummings is the hero of the piece." Full Review
"Patterson does better in this show adding, a tenderness and sympathy to Hal, as does Hannah Elless, who makes Millie highly watchable. Jack Cummings lll’s direction allows Inge’s words to speak for themselves...'Picnic' won a Pulitzer back in the day, but now these character and time seem so far out of touch with today’s mentality. They do however give us a realistic glimpse into our past, as painful as that is." Full Review
"Engaging and relevant...The desperate starkness of Inge’s plays is particularly relevant and challenging in this post-election era...Under Jack Cummings III’s direction, the members of the ensemble cast uniformly deliver authentic and believable performances...His direction in 'Picnic' results in a fast-paced and smooth performance...Raises rich and enduring questions about the human quest for purpose and identity in a time when individuality and freedom seem to be placed in harm’s way." Full Review
"Despite heavy-handed direction, these revivals of two well-known, insightful and meticulously written works succeed...Inge creates a haunting gallery of individuals struggling with their innermost desires and the class system...With his exceptional physique, great smile and abundant charm, Patterson is perfection as Hal...Mrs. Potts’ warm heart and wisdom are beautifully conveyed by Mac Rae. Michele Pawk gingerly captures the maternal harshness and pragmatism of Flo." Full Review
"As long as people experience emotions of loneliness and regret, these dramas will still be relevant, as Transport Group's William Inge in Rep proves...Some refer to Inge's plays as dated, but I've never found that. The symbolism and parallels between the older and younger characters can be a little heavy-handed, but there is so much truth that still resonates. Cummings has placed both plays in an intimate setting, which makes the sadness even more palpable." Full Review
“Other than Emily Skinner’s Rosemary, performances feel exaggerated and artificial, seeming as if the actors (well represented from Broadway’s boards) are ready to burst into song, approaching the problems superficially. But these plays are as far from musicals as they can get. They’re serious and earthbound. And that’s where they go wrong…in 'Picnic' the missing explosive tension reveals itself when Alan’s decision to call the police on Hal almost seems like an overreaction." Full Review
"Revelatory reassessments of 'Come Back, Little Sheba' and, especially, 'Picnic,' perceptively directed by Cummings...Cummings’ productions rescue both 'Sheba' and 'Picnic' from the customary bonds of realistic staging...Liberated from their usual ultra-naturalistic trappings, both plays appear richer and more significant than in recent revivals; and the characters’ time-bound slang, as well as Inge’s occasional dramaturgical grandiosity, seem somehow outside time, rather than out of date." Full Review
“The situation eventually explodes and leads to a heart-stopping, love-intoxicated climax…The production is blessed at its center with a lovely performance by Ginna Le Vine…As Hal, David T. Patterson also makes an auspicious Off-Broadway debut…Cummings’s direction imbues the show with vitality, against the rather minimalist set…It’s not terribly atmospheric, but it hardly matters as the actors and Inge’s storytelling take hold of the audience’s imaginations.” Full Review
"The performances are all good, particularly Michelle Pawk as Flo...Even better is Emily Skinner as their neighbor...Perhaps a little more build and a little more temperance would have improved a couple of the other performances, particularly Hannah Ellis as Millie and David T. Patterson as Hal. Both are giving highly physical performances, and, especially in such a small space, the movements are way too exaggerated." Full Review
"If Inge seems outdated and somewhat clumsy to current theatergoers, his plays still have the insights and dramatic tension that make them worth revival...But there are problems. Presenting Inge in repertory makes it painfully obvious just how similar his plays are...If much of 'Picnic' and 'Come Back, Little Sheba' is overwrought and obvious, the two plays do give us a picture of middle America back in the 1950s." Full Review
"The acting company is outstanding, with six actors of the company performing in both plays. As I saw both shows in one day, it was fascinating to see the differences in characterizations performed by Mac Rae, Patterson, Elless, Vickers, Cariani, and Jennifer Piech...In general, the performances might be adjudged as a bit 'over-the-top'...I suspect what might be called 'stylization' was the choice of director Cummings, and for me, this was a pleasure." Full Review
See it if you've never seen Picnic before and want to do so where you can watch the actors up close. Skinner and Patterson give the best performances.
Don't see it if you want to see a perfectly cast production or you're uninterested in dated material that doesn't argue for its relevance. Two intermissions
See it if You want to see a play with great acting, in a small theater. Every seat is a good seat.
Don't see it if You don't like Inge's play, or don't want to see a play with a serious subject matter.
See it if You like older playwrights, intimate productions, solid acting of a classic drama. If you know the play but never saw live production
Don't see it if You don't like small theatres or classic drama about small town USA. And don't be late. Youll have to wait till end of 1st act to be seated
See it if you don't mind spare sets;you'll enjoy a well-acted production of a classic dealing with sexual & class tensions in 1950s small town USA
Don't see it if you prefer modern, edgy dramas or want to see something light; prefer fully-staged productions.
See it if You like old fashioned plays by American playwrights. Bad boys. The feeling of dreary Midwestern life is very evident in this production,
Don't see it if You dislike slow moving plots, sparse sets, and desolation. You are depressed about the way your life ended up.
See it if Wonderful characters, writing and acting. Has universal themes despite setting in 50's culture. Coming of age / generational struggles.
Don't see it if You don't like slowly developing character plays where people grow and change.
See it if you'd like an intimate look at small town life with real people on a Labor Day weekend. A magical production.
Don't see it if you want elaborate sets, a proscenium, or find "Splendor In the Grass" dated. This production rests solely on the script and the actors.
See it if Inge at his best. In a class with Williams and O'Neill. Strong cast. clever sets (not quite elaborate) Nice staff at the Judson Church.
Don't see it if you need a super set or an overblown production.
See it if Despite 50's setting, Cummings' minimalistic staging of Inge's Americana feels wonderfully alive Expert ensemble led by poignant Skinner
Don't see it if It's slow & dated but it's universal themes of love & longing somehow take on mythic proportions here Drifter as catalyst a bit overplayed
See it if you'd like to see a wonderful, intimate production of a Pulitzer Prize winner, pulsating with rippling muscles and sexuality.
Don't see it if you can't arrive early to get a good seat.
See it if you've never seen an Inge play. Great acting. A time capsule that in many ways provides insight into some people's choices last fall.
Don't see it if you will be annoyed by staging that often puts the character's back to you when they are speaking. The staging is up close and personal.
See it if You want to see great acting and how limited women's roles were not too long ago. You like well written classic theatre.
Don't see it if You want elaborate production values. Get frustrated by the treatment if women as extensions of men.
See it if you love Inge and like new productions, even weak ones
Don't see it if you love Inge and can't stand to see bad productions. Set and lighting were very weak. Didn't do play justice. Young actors were very weak.
See it if you like a well made play from the 50's, simply but well-staged, and brilliantly acted.
Don't see it if you don't like two intermissions, or plays of a somewhat dated nature.
See it if You love theatre and want to learn about one of our great playwrights, and if you want your heart tugged in a way not often available.
Don't see it if Minimal staging and almost old-fashioned storytelling is not your thing.
See it if Really incredible acting. Very intimate simple production but incredibly absorbing. An American classic.
Don't see it if If you want more elaborate scenery. Very bare-boned but you don't even notice that since the acting is so absorbing. No need for more
Also I had not expected this production to be so compelling but I loved it!
See it if you've somehow forgotten how lovely a William Inge play can be & you want to see one of his best stripped down to its heartbreaking essence.
Don't see it if you get pissy when presented with strong naturalistic performances of a mid-century classic of Midwestern realism on a nearly naked stage.
See it if you want to see some hard to fill roles fulfilled. Hal in particular. Simple, unpretentious staging matches the work and lets it breathe.
Don't see it if you want a lot of bells and whistles. The bells and whistles are internal, screaming, crying, sitting in extended afternoons of lost time.